An e-scooter company is suing the City of Kelowna over alleged misrepresentations from city staff.
Bunny Ride Transportation filed a lawsuit in the BC Supreme Court last month accusing the city of stringing the company along for a year-and-a-half with promises it would be allowed to operate under the city’s e-scooter share program. The company claims the city’s active transportation coordinator, Matt Worona, assured the company several times between 2019 and 2021 it would be allowed to operate in the city.
Bunny was granted a business licence in 2019, operating in Kelowna through that summer until the city suspended e-scooters because of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Bunny claims it maintained contact with city staff about relaunching.
“On or about August 2020, the plaintiff submitted a permit application to operate the Bunny business and Kelowna advised the permit was approved,” reads the notice of claim.
“To ensure the permit matched the relaunch of the Bunny business, later in August 2020, Mr. Worona suggested the permit not be issued until one week before the relaunch date.”
As that date approached, Bunny claims Worona continued to tell the company it would be granted a permit, the latest assurance coming in an April 7 video call, about two weeks before city council ratified bylaw changes allowing scooter companies to operate. But on April 23, Bunny alleges Worona informed the company it would not be granted a permit to operate.
Bunny claims it incurred numerous costs due to the city’s alleged misrepresentation, planning a full rollout of its scooter-share program which included retaining staff and purchasing inventory.
“No commercially justifiable grounds existed for revoking the Plaintiff’s permission to operate the Bunny Business in the City of Kelowna. Further, competitors to the Plaintiff were permitted to continue to operate despite complaints and issues similar to those cited by Kelowna regarding the Plaintiff’s operations,” reads the civil claim.
Bunny is seeking damages for the city’s “negligent misrepresentation” and costs incurred.
The city has not filed a response to the lawsuit and none of Bunny’s claims have been tested in court.